The outlook for America is brighter now than it has been in recent months. Daily coronavirus cases and deaths have dropped to a fifth of winter peaks thanks to climbing vaccinations. To date, according to new CDC data, more than 40% of the adult population and nearly 70% of the elderly population are fully vaccinated. Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have estimated that between 70% and 85% of the US population must be immune to the virus, through vaccination or prior infection, for herd immunity to be achieved. He said in March that this could happen if students are vaccinated.
The US has come one step closer to that. A federal government official told CNN that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ready to approve Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine for children and adolescents aged 12-15 by early next week.
However, the average daily vaccination rate has been falling for about two weeks, and surveys show younger Americans are the least likely to say they want a shot, report Ralph Ellis and Christina Maxouris. This is worrying as unvaccinated young people are contributing to increasing fuel consumption in the US.
“What really worries me is that the people who are already on the fence will not be vaccinated (and) we will not achieve herd immunity in the fall,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, across from CNN. “And then, with winter … we have a big resurgence, maybe variants come from other countries and we could start this whole process over and see another big pandemic in winter.”
It is not all doom and darkness. Some experts believe that fighting infection will be good enough for most people to get back to their pre-pandemic life as long as the number of cases continues to drop.
“We may not get to zero, we probably won’t,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Health, told CNN on Monday. “But if we can get the infections at very low levels, most of us can get back to our lives the normal way. I think we can probably live with that,” he added.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Can new or future variants ruin herd immunity?
A: Here’s the good news: All three vaccines currently used in the U.S. offer strong protection against known variant strains of the coronavirus.
However, as the virus keeps spreading and multiplying in new people, it has more opportunities to mutate. And if there are significant mutations, new and more dangerous variants could emerge. The key is to suppress the amount of virus circulating so it has less chance of mutating and causing more infectious or deadly variants.
That’s why experts say it’s so important to get vaccinated and keep wearing masks. Submit your questions here. Are you a healthcare worker fighting Covid-19? Drop us a message on WhatsApp about the challenges you are facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY?
More Covid cases in the last two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that more cases of the virus have been reported in the past two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic. India and Brazil accounted for more than half of the cases last week. This is because the burden of Covid-19 has shifted to poorer nations. India topped 20 million official cases on Tuesday (although the real total is believed to be much higher), while neighboring Nepal has seen its average Covid-19 cases increase by more than 1,200% since mid-April. The Nepalese Prime Minister called for more international aid on Monday and said: “We live in a networked and networked world. [a] Such a pandemic spares no one and no one is safe. “Meanwhile, the FDA’s Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock warned that the continued spread of Covid-19 would fuel the rise of other varieties as the world turns into a ‘giant petri dish’ due to the virus.
Covid-19 has caused one in three deaths in Brazil so far this year
A third of all people who died in Brazil in 2021 were victims of Covid-19, Rodrigo Pedroso and Caitlin Hu. According to official data, 615,329 deaths were reported in the country between January 1 and April 30. Of these, 208,370 were linked to Covid-19, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health – 33.9% of the country’s total.
The virus has increased with a vengeance in the South American giant in recent months – partly due to disregard for social precautionary measures and the emergence of particularly contagious new variants – and claimed more lives in the past four months than in the entire past four months 2020. And despite Brazil’s robust vaccination program, the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines has been slow. So far, less than 10% of the population has been vaccinated.
Europe plans to reopen in the summer
After almost a year of closed borders, the European Union could open itself in June to fully vaccinated holidaymakers from countries with low infection rates in time for summer, as James Frater announced on Monday.
The officials hope that the plan, which will be discussed tomorrow by the ambassadors of the European countries, can be implemented by the end of June. The proposals published by the European Commission indicated that arrivals must be vaccinated with a vaccine from the approved list 14 days prior to arrival, including BioNTech / Pfizer, Oxford University / AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.
Decisions about borders can only be made by individual countries, so each member state decides whether or not these proposals will be implemented.
ON OUR RADAR
- World number 1 Novak Djokovic hopes Covid-19 vaccines won’t be mandatory for tennis players on tour and refuses to disclose whether he would receive a vaccine in the future. The Serb previously said he would speak out against compulsory vaccination, but has since said he would wait for further clarifications from the tennis association.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that 24/7 subway service in New York City will be back on May 17 as the state and neighbors New Jersey and Connecticut open their economies
- Americans are not getting the mental health support they need during the pandemic, according to a report. This is especially true of the youngest, oldest, and impoverished people.
- America’s parents – especially mothers – have been hard hit by the pandemic. But the introduction of the vaccine and Washington’s promise to spend big bucks on childcare could help mothers get back to work.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
Stress among teenagers has been compounded by the pandemic
“Many of the teenagers I work with experience almost crippling social anxiety, either from a lack of practice after a year with little time with friends or from general social insecurity,” writes psychologist John Duffy.
“Some also feel desperate, depressed, and anxious in ways they have never experienced before, and have always viewed themselves as positive, optimistic people. Some of my clients are now taking medication to balance their mood,” he added.
“Our new show is a place where we can all reflect on how the pandemic has changed us and what steps we want to take to move forward together.” – Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief correspondent
For the first time in more than a year, many of us are imagining the next chapter in our lives. Gupta’s mission is to help us mindfully approach our new normal in his new podcast “Chasing Life”, which starts on May 11th. LISTEN TO THE TRAILER.